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Alphabet of Masks is a collection of short stories and poems written on a mobile phone. It is an imaginative foray into the modern-day Russian experience. Dmitri Birman shows us how today's Russians straddle their Soviet past and their capitalist future in order to survive. The stories are wry, humorous, and sexually frank; the poems lyrical and elegiac about the narrator and his friends. The anti-Semitic reality of school bullies and army conscription, the adolescent yearning for classmates and teaching assistants, the Soviet dream of world travel and luxury consumption--all are part of the book, while the poetry resonates as variations on a theme. Dmitri Birman became a new Russian businessman after Communism fell. A prize-winning poet, he is a member of the Russian PEN.
"My goal is to show the reader that the Soviet political and economic system was unstable by its very nature. It was just a question of when and how it would collapse...." --From the Introduction to Collapse of an Empire The Soviet Union was an empire in many senses of the word--a vast mix of far-flung regions and accidental citizens by way of conquest or annexation. Typical of such empires, it was built on shaky foundations. That instability made its demise inevitable, asserts Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia and architect of the "shock therapy" economic reforms of the 1990s. Yet a growing desire to return to the glory days of empire is pushing today's Russia backward into many of the same traps that made the Soviet Union untenable. In this important new book, Gaidar clearly illustrates why Russian nostalgia for empire is dangerous and ill-fated: "Dreams of returning to another era are illusory. Attempts to do so will lead to defeat." Gaidar uses world history, the Soviet experience, and economic analysis to demonstrate why swimming against this tide of history would be a huge mistake. The USSR sowed the seeds of its own economic destruction, and Gaidar worries that Russia is repeating some of those mistakes. Once again, for example, the nation is putting too many eggs into one basket, leaving the nation vulnerable to fluctuations in the energy market. The Soviets had used revenues from energy sales to prop up struggling sectors such as agriculture, which was so thoroughly ravaged by hyperindustrialization that the Soviet Union became a net importer of food. When oil prices dropped in the 1980s, that revenue stream diminished, and dependent sectors suffered heavily. Although strategies requiring austerity or sacrifice can be politically difficult, Russia needs to prepare for such downturns and restrain spending during prosperous times. Collapse of an Empire shows why it is imperative to fix the roof before it starts to rain, and why sometimes the past should be left in the past.
In its first-ever unexpurgated edition, a sci-fi landmark that's a comic and suspenseful tour-de-force, and puts distraction in a whole new light: It's not you, it's the universe!Certain he is on the verge of a major scientific discovery, astrophysicist Dmitri Malyanov is happy that his wife has gone out of town so he can work home alone on the project he's sure will win him the Nobel Prize.But then a beautiful woman shows up at his door, claiming to be an old friend of his wife's and saying she needs a place to stay. Then someone delivers a crate of vodka and caviar. Then his neighbor comes over and wants to tell him a personal secret. Then several of his friends--also scientists--show up, too. Their problem? They all felt they were on the verge of a major discovery when ... they got distracted ...Is there some ominous force that doesn't want scientific knowledge to progress? Or could it be something more...natural?In one of their most important works, offered here for the first time in an uncensored edition, the legendary Strugatsky brothers bravely and brilliantly question authority. It's a book that's not so much brilliant science fiction, as it is simply brilliant literature.
A chilling tale about bizarre and terrifying things suddenly disrupting the lives of the world's leading scientists. Amid all the mysterious events, only one thing is clear--they cannot work any longer. Something or someone is preventing scientific knowledge from advancing. The tension mounts as more and more frightening and inexplicable events take place. Are they being attacked by something supernatural, a supercivilization, or just an innate character of the universe that won't allow more than some level of organization? The scientists struggle on, until one by one they begin to drop out, leaving astrophysicist Dmitri Malianov to decide for himself the ultimate question--what price truth?
1. Childhood in Odessa I was born in Odessa, a beautiful and gay city on the Black Sea, in the south of the Russian empire. I grew up a hellion. I would run outside, shout, fight with other kids, then save myself by running home. It wasn't very brave or risky on my part, but Mother worried about me anyway. A neighbor in our building, Mrs. Roisman, gave advice: "You have to keep Nathan busy! Let him take music lessons!"
Maya Plisetskaya, one of the world's foremost dancers, rose to become a prima ballerina of Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet after an early life filled with tragedy and loss. In this spirited memoir, Plisetskaya reflects on her personal and professional odyssey, presenting a unique view of the life of a Soviet artist during the troubled period from the late 1930s to the 1990s. Plisetskaya recounts the execution of her father in the Great Terror and her mother's exile to the Gulag. She describes her admission to the Bolshoi in 1943, the roles she performed there, and the endless petty harassments she endured, from both envious colleagues and Party officials. Refused permission for six years to tour with the company, Plisetskaya eventually performed all over the world, working with such noted choreographers as Roland Petit and Maurice Béjart. She recounts the tumultuous events she lived through and the fascinating people she met-among them the legendary ballet teacher Agrippina Vaganova, George Balanchine, Frank Sinatra, Rudolf Nureyev, and Dmitri Shostakovich. And she provides fascinating details about testy cocktail-party encounters with Khrushchev, tours abroad when her meager per diem allowance brought her close to starvation, and KGB plots to capitalize on her friendship with Robert Kennedy. Gifted, courageous, and brutally honest, Plisetskaya brilliantly illuminates the world of Soviet ballet during an era that encompasses both repression and cultural détente. Still prima ballerina assoluta with the Bolshoi Ballet, Maya Plisetskaya also travels around the world performing and lecturing. At the Bolshoi's gala celebrating her 75th birthday, President Vladimir Putin presented her with Russia's highest civilian honor, the medal for service to the Russian state, second degree. Tim Scholl is professor of Russian language and literature at Oberlin College. Antonina W. Bouis is the prize-winning translator of more than fifty books, including fiction, nonfiction, and memoirs by such figures as Andrei Sakharov, Elena Bonner, and Dmitri Shostakovich.
This is a letter written from world-famous pairs figure skater EKATERINA GORDEEVA to her daughter Daria. EKATERINA GORDEEVA weaves morals she hopes her daughter will learn throughout life with the story of her parents' lives.
By the best-selling Soviet sci-fi author, the scientific world mourned the loss of Professor Dowell. It was said that just before his death, he was on the verge of a breakthrough in human organ transplantation.
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